Why You Should Always Use a VPN When Shopping Online
A recent poll by NPR shows that 76% of U.S. consumers shop online. When you make a purchase on the Internet without a protected network, your personal information is at risk of exposure.
Online retailers handle millions of transactions every day. While many companies and retailers continue to improve security on their websites, the industry is simply not prepared to protect customers against incoming cyberattacks.
One reason for this is that malware continues to evolve and improve almost as fast as security technology. The retail sector has also not made adequate investments in cybersecurity to completely guarantee the safety of its customer's information.
As a consumer, you shouldn't rely on online merchants to keep your data secure. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your information against cyberattacks that aim to access your credit card information, PIN, or social security number.
To ensure a secure online shopping experience, you should always use a VPN. A quality VPN will not only provide you with increased privacy but also save you money, by giving you access to better deals.
What Does a VPN Do?
A VPN creates a tunnel between your IP address and the places you visit online. An IP address is assigned to a physical location, but a VPN can change the appearance of your location and open up a host of different websites. When you reroute your server to Germany for instance, you can access sites such as amazon.de or ebay.de.
When you use a VPN while shopping online you also encrypt your data. Encryption creates a secure connection that prevents sensitive information from being recorded when you make purchases on the Internet. Encryption is important, especially when using public WiFi networks (which are notoriously easy for hackers to access). Hackers collect your information by positioning themselves between your device and the network you're trying to connect to. There are increasing concerns about the safety of these networks, so you should always use a VPN when shopping online via a public WiFi network.
How Does a VPN Provide Access to Better Deals?
Pricing online is, unfortunately, not universal. Not every retailer fluctuates pricing, but it is common in the Fashion, Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, and Food industries.
The more personal information that a company or vendor has about you, the more they can curate your shopping experience, including how much they charge you for certain items. One element that affects the price you are shown for an item online is your location.
This practice is known as "dynamic pricing, " and it can mean higher prices if you live in a wealthier country, neighborhood, or zip code. Dynamic pricing could also be in effect depending on the time of year. For instance, winter clothing might be cheaper in an Australian version of a store during January than it is in a UK version of the same store.
A VPN allows you to connect to different servers around the world. Once you change your location, you will be able to check prices and see if there is a variation in the cost of certain items.
Flight and Hotel Savings
A VPN can also save you money when you book flights and hotels.
Your IP address determines the pricing that is shown to you and by changing this location, your server relocates and readjusts. There is no guarantee, but when you switch your server to another country, you will often see a difference in the flight price. This happens with hotel pricing as well.
For flights, use a VPN to try and book a ticket from the country you want to visit and pay in that location's currency. You can also try to switch to the location where the airline is based (for instance use a UK server for British Airways flights). When you want to book hotels, switch your location to the area of which you want to stay. Always use a VPN when shopping online to make sure you get the best deal possible.
Online shopping has created a new age of convenience. But the ability to make purchases from your phone also comes with the increased risk of unwanted people being able to gain access to your information. Credit card exposure is at an all-time high and malware technology will continue to get smarter. Use a VPN to protect your data when shopping online and enjoy the extra benefits of increased privacy, while also saving money.